BLINKWATER NATURE RESERVE - HIKE 3-4 March 2012
Group: John Fourie (leader), Christie Exall and Lettie Oosthuizen
Report & Photographs: Lettie Oosthuizen


John, Christie & myself set off from Mondiís Seele Estate workshop in cool weather, at about 09:00hrs on Saturday morning.



We followed the trail markers along a plantation road past the Ottos Dam and then on to Island Dam. Island dam being the breeding ground for the rare and endangered Wattled Crane.



Time to quench our thirst. By now the sun was out in full force.



After our rest we headed on up Oribi Hill and past Florida Lake, home to the Florida Bass, often to be seen leaping out of the water. The air was dense with humidity.



We stopped for lunch in the cool forest where we saw several brightly coloured Louries. Following the path of the stream through the forest we were amazed at the many different flowers and ferns.



Once out of the forest we were on our last leg of our journey on to our overnight stop. Many colourful and graceful butterflies flitting amongst the vegetation as well as several other intriguing creatures.



Finally we arrive at our destination. A stone cottage in the woods, high up on the slopes of Blinkwater, with only the sound of birds and the wind in the treetops. Comfortable beds, hot shower (thanks to the old fashioned donkey), dinner by candlelight in front of a warm fire.



Dusk - As I came around a large pile of felled tree logs, I came face to face with a reedbuck, needless to say we were both very surprised. Before I could reach for my camera he had already disappeared through the scrub and down the hill.



Of the many different trees in the garden, the enormous old wild fig tree with itsí giant gnarled roots and solid branches attracted us like bees to honey. We simply could not resist getting close to this old fellow and absorbing the tranquil magic emanating from itís very being.



Sunday morning, after a good nightís rest we awoke to cool and cloudy weather. We enjoyed breakfast on the front stoep whilst watching the mist rise up from the valley. The rain descended on us just as we left the cottage and headed back to where we had left our vehicles. On the way we found stinging nettles which had appeared almost overnight, a rather large snail enjoying the moisture and several tiny frogs obviously just out of tadpole stage, cavorting in small puddles.



Back at base, thoroughly soaked and feeling on top of the world.



Dry clothes, last hugs and photo shoots before we head back home. We arrived in a cloud of dust and left in a cloud of rain.

This trail is highly recommended. It is well marked and caters for the hiker who wishes to stop and smell the flowers. Gentle hills, grasslands, pristine forest, cool plantations, abundance of birds, insects and plants, dams and streams. It is strongly suggested that one sprays oneself thoroughly with insect repellent as there is a large contingent of horseflies in the forest area, ready to attack the unsuspecting hiker.

Au revoir until our next adventure.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~